Snail troubles - SOLVED - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Snail troubles - SOLVED

Hello friends,

Yesterday, I received 6 very healthy nerite snails as well as lots of MTS snails. Upon introduction to my tank 29 gallon tank, many of the nerites began getting sluggishly to work, one never moved however. The MTS all had their feet out, but they did not move either. I also introduced several of the MTS to my 10 gallon tank at home that runs exactly the same parameters as my office tank and I introduced two MTS to my sons 10 gallon that runs on tap water. I noticed the only MTS to move around and be active was one of the snails introduced to my sons 10 gallon. The others were clearly alive, foot out and antenna moving, but they never moved.

Jump to this morning, less than 24 hours later, all nerites are closed up and upside down on the bottom of the 29 gallon, still no movement from the MTS but still visibly alive. I pulled all the snails from my 29 gallon and put them in a small container with Primed tap water. 4 out of 6 nerites are now on the go and the MTS are becoming more active.

As some of you know, I run remineralized RODI in my tanks(excluding my sons). I remineralize both tanks to a GH and KH of 3 using nilocg's reKharb and reGen. I dose EI macros 3x week + Burr's micros daily and inject CO2. The MTS are the only thing in my tank at home, so nothing is harassing them there. My 29 is a peaceful community tank with white clouds, T. espei, harlequin rasbora, panda corys and I keep RCS and C. habrosus in this tank which I would think would be FAR more sensitive to unfavorable conditions than the nerites and MTS.

29 gal office tank is almost 2 years old, so very well established. The 10 gallon is a new setup, but cycling is complete. These tanks both received large water changes on Wednesday this week as well as on Sunday because I received some new fish Thursday - wanted to reset water values basically. Running injected CO2.

I'd also like to mention that here recently - last month or so - I had approximately 3 nerites die within a short period of time with seemingly no cause. I assumed they were just old because they had been in my tank for a long time, they were quite large, and I really didn't think much of it at the time - now I'm thinking.

-Are nerites going to be the first critter to tell me I have too much CO2? I have very active and happy fish, I go just over a 1 degree pH drop. pH sits in the mid 6's on both tanks, the 10 gallon I'd let get lower since it was unstocked - plants like it - but am dialing it back in to 6.3-6.5.

-Could a Mg imbalance cause problems for them? I've been experimenting with adding extra MgSO4 to try to correct a plant deficiency, and I'm curious if the osmotic effects of epsom salt can cause problems for my snails, and whether they'd be the first to show signs of problems...

Other than those two ideas, I'm really at a loss. I am not currently dosing anything else. Any input would be appreciated. I need these snails to live!!

Also, I've never dosed copper in this tank. The only copper that has ever entered the tank was from CSM+B(obsolete now), Burr's micros, and fish food.

Last edited by mgeorges; 03-28-2018 at 02:25 PM. Reason: Solved
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 06:47 PM
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On first blush I would lean towards the magnesium sulfate if copper is ruled out before Co2. Or possibly water temp.

But there's snails and they like to die for no good reason at times. I'd probably put new ones in a quarantine tank and see how they do without any additives for a few weeks to a month before putting them in a tank.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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On first blush I would lean towards the magnesium sulfate if copper is ruled out before Co2. Or possibly water temp.

But there's snails and they like to die for no good reason at times. I'd probably put new ones in a quarantine tank and see how they do without any additives for a few weeks to a month before putting them in a tank.
Forgot to mention - water temp is at 74 on all tanks so well within their range. Snails are weird critters, but since they are ALL (20 or so) behaving this way, and I've been told how crazy resilient MTS can be, I'm definitely going with something in the tank affecting them very negatively.

I'll be beginning the remineralization process with MgSO4/CaSO4 this weekend, so extra MgSO4 will no longer be getting added to the tank. I'll be curious to see if the snails that recover will tolerate a balanced Ca/Mg tank.

I think your first blush is probably a good one because it's what I'm really concerned about too. It's the only thing in my tank that I know for a fact is currently unbalanced.

I forgot to mention in original post - the only difference between 10 gallon high tech and 29 gallon high tech is the 29 has Osmocote+ root tabs, lots of them, buried very deep for my AR mini, L. aromatica, C. wendtii and Blyxa japonica. But since snails behaved exactly the same in both tanks, I very much doubt there's an issue with them.

Last edited by mgeorges; 02-16-2018 at 07:50 PM. Reason: additional info
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 07:44 PM
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Usually my nerites are the last to tell me if something is wrong. I've overdosed my tank with the one-two punch, lost power and water dropped to 60 degrees and have gassed my tank near 50 ppm and have never seen any ill effects on the snails. Tough little guys. I do have a hitchhiker MTS that stays buried in the substrate unless I plant/replant or disturb the substrate. Other than, I never see it. My parameters are pH= 7.5 (degassed) KH=4 GH=7 and temperature sits at 75 degrees. I do use GH booster at water change time. No additional Mg. Very strange this is happening with your snails. Let us know how they get along when you remineralize.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'm quite accustomed to that same hardiness, which is what makes this so interesting and why osmotic issues came to mind with MgSO4.7H20.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 10:18 PM
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Yeah, I'm quite accustomed to that same hardiness, which is what makes this so interesting and why osmotic issues came to mind with MgSO4.7H20.
Yeah, a quick google search will show threads where people are reporting magnesium causing issues with snails. I'm not sure at what concentrations it becomes toxic, though. I guess it's better to err on the side of caution with certain minerals. I do know invertebrates don't tolerate heavy metals very well, copper in particular. Anyways, it's good to know these things when/if my plants start showing Mg deficiencies.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
Yeah, I'm quite accustomed to that same hardiness, which is what makes this so interesting and why osmotic issues came to mind with MgSO4.7H20.
I glossed over the osmocote on the first read, there your copper and the MTS would stir the hell out of the substrate at night. I'm not a fan of the stuff, never understood the reason for the copper and lead then add the zinc on top of that and why would I want brass in my tank? It's fine if you have nothing that could possible burrow or stir past your top cap but why take the chance when I can make my own with topsoil and fert salts or get lazy and use bonzi fertilizer (4-6-4).

I would say it's the combination of the heavy dosing and the osmocote getting stirred up at night by the MTS.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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MTS never even got into the substrate to disturb anything though. And the other nerites that died so close to each other died before the addition of the root tabs.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 03:35 PM
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Yeah, I'm quite accustomed to that same hardiness, which is what makes this so interesting and why osmotic issues came to mind with MgSO4.7H20.
I glossed over the osmocote on the first read, there your copper and the MTS would stir the hell out of the substrate at night. I'm not a fan of the stuff, never understood the reason for the copper and lead then add the zinc on top of that and why would I want brass in my tank? It's fine if you have nothing that could possible burrow or stir past your top cap but why take the chance when I can make my own with topsoil and fert salts or get lazy and use bonzi fertilizer (4-6-4).

I would say it's the combination of the heavy dosing and the osmocote getting stirred up at night by the MTS.
Just to converse about the osmocote plus, I have a goodly amount buried in my eco complete substrate in my 5.5 gallon with a crazy amount of healthy malaysian trumpet snails, red cherry shrimp and a nerite. And my MTS retreat into the substrate any time the lights are on.

So unless he had crazy overdose amounts buried, I don't think it's causing the issue.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 04:42 PM
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What type of Nerites are these? I've found the black racers to be the most hardy with low temp (68-70), high CO2 (accidental 45ppm for a while), full EI, low GH/KH (4/1 in my lowest), and glut usage.

The zebras have been a pain for me. I think temps are an issue. They did fine during the summer while tanks were around 74-76, but winter came while changing nothing, and I had only this type die on me while horned and black racers were fine. CO2 seemed fine for them at about 15-20ppm, but they didn't really like 30-35 ppm.

The horned did not like low GH, and after moving them from 4 dGH to 6 dGH, they suddenly started being happy again. These also seemed to be touchy when CO2 got too high.

Even though they aren't as pretty, I think the black racers clean everything better, live longer (going on 4 years for my oldest), and are more hardy than any snail I've kept, including pond snails...
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 05:15 PM
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What type of Nerites are these? I've found the black racers to be the most hardy with low temp (68-70), high CO2 (accidental 45ppm for a while), full EI, low GH/KH (4/1 in my lowest), and glut usage.

The zebras have been a pain for me. I think temps are an issue. They did fine during the summer while tanks were around 74-76, but winter came while changing nothing, and I had only this type die on me while horned and black racers were fine. CO2 seemed fine for them at about 15-20ppm, but they didn't really like 30-35 ppm.

The horned did not like low GH, and after moving them from 4 dGH to 6 dGH, they suddenly started being happy again. These also seemed to be touchy when CO2 got too high.

Even though they aren't as pretty, I think the black racers clean everything better, live longer (going on 4 years for my oldest), and are more hardy than any snail I've kept, including pond snails...

I've had the complete opposite experience. My Black racer spends 90% of the time hiding halfway in substrate in the corner of tank at the base of a rock. My olive nerite is the hardest worker of the group, with my tiger being a close second. I also have a horned bumblebee, tire track and zebra. None of them have ever shown signs of stress with CO2 at 30+ ppm. Been as high as 45-50ppm during diffuser break in. I had a heater go out for ? days unnoticed until a water change. It read around 60 degrees according a hanna tds/temp pen. Again, no signs of stress. The olive nerite did fall off the glass once when I did a one-two punch with overdosing h202 and excel, but it quickly recovered minutes later.

Just goes to show the different experiences one can have. Not sure if it's the difference in mineral concentrations varying from tank to tank, or the overall health of invertebrates varying from different LFS??
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-19-2018, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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These are the red spot nerites - black hash marks on a reddish brown shell. They are all doing wonderfully now...in tap water with Prime. My tap is very hard, GH last time I bothered to test it(months ago since I'm now on RODI) was 12-13, KH was 8-9 if I remember correctly. Nerites and MTS are doing great in a little .5 gallon plastic holding container.
I performed the water change at home in the 10 gal with CaSO4 and MgSO4. Using rotalabutterfly calculations, GH got higher than I wanted, not sure how, but I dosed 1.22 grams of Ca and 960mg of Mg into my Home Depot bucket to get a 3:1 ratio, GH read about 5 which I wanted closer to 3, KH is always remineralized to 3. The MTS in that tank didn't respond at all. They're still alive, but "dormant"...I'm going to pull them and put then in Primed tap as well, feed them for a while, and then reintroduce to the tank to see if that makes any difference.
@madcrafted I imagine if it is in fact Mg causing my problem, I'm going to be needing a few water changes before that issue is fixed. I do 50% water changes weekly, so within a few weeks I should be able to dilute it enough down to a better target range. Wish there were a nice easy way to test Mg ppm's...the only kits I see are for saltwater.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2018, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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I figured out what was causing my snail deaths - Potassium bicarbonate. I was using reKHarb to add KH back to my RODI water. I switched to sodium bicarbonate here recently to test if the excessive amounts of potassium were causing stunting problems in my plants. After two weeks on the sodium bicarb, I decided to try and reintroduce snails to both tanks on a hunch - voila! Snails are doing wonderfully now. Using potassium bicarbonate adds 40 ppm of K to reach a KH of 3...that's a ton of potassium. Apparently, the shrimp and snails don't appreciate it. This was the only significant change made - no change in CO2, still using MgSO4.7H2O and CaSO4 to raise GH, ferts are the same(dosing 10 ppm NO3, 2 ppm PO4, 7.5 ppm K 3x weekly plus Burr's micros half dose daily).
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-28-2018, 07:57 PM
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I glossed over the osmocote on the first read, there your copper and the MTS would stir the hell out of the substrate at night. I'm not a fan of the stuff, never understood the reason for the copper and lead then add the zinc on top of that and why would I want brass in my tank? It's fine if you have nothing that could possible burrow or stir past your top cap but why take the chance when I can make my own with topsoil and fert salts or get lazy and use bonzi fertilizer (4-6-4).
Copper and zinc are essential nutrients for plants and animals. Copper can be toxic at levels o 30 parts per billion or more. Most fertilizers don't have enough copper to cause toxicity. Your tap water could have enough copper to cause problems. I never used tap water in my aquarium because it is hard. However recently I checked the copper levels in it and found my tape water has 50 parts per billion of copper. Most of this copper comes from copper pipes.

Zinc is also in fertilizers and again most fertilizers don't have enough to be harmful. Tape water typically has it from natural sources.

Lead is not a nutrient for plants or animals and I have never seen it listed in fertilizers including Osmocote. However some older homes (at least 50 years old have lead pipes and that can cause high lead levels if the water utility doesn't take steps to control corrosion. Flint Michigan had a scandal caused by the utility not controlling corrosion cause toxic lead levels at the tap.

The macro nutrients are Nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.
The micro nutrients are Chlorine, Iron, boron, Manganese, zinc, Copper, molybdenum and nickel.

If any one of those nutrients is missing plants may not grow. All nutrients are equally important to plants.
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